Children’s Toys in the 18th Century

Take a journey back to the 18th century and discover the captivating world of children’s toys. From dolls and toy soldiers to board games and marbles, this article explores the playthings that brought joy to little hearts during this enchanting period. Find out more here!

Take a walk down memory lane as we journey back to the 18th century and explore the fascinating world of children’s toys. In this article, we will uncover the various playthings that entertained the young minds of the era. From intricately handcrafted dolls and timeless rocking horses to wooden soldiers and intricate puzzles, these toys provided hours of endless fun and imagination for children in the 18th century. Let’s delve into this captivating world and discover the wonders that brought joy to little hearts during this enchanting period of history.

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Dolls have been a beloved toy for centuries, captivating the hearts of children and igniting their imaginations. In the 18th century, dolls were crafted with meticulous attention to detail, showcasing the craftsmanship of the time. Two types of dolls that were commonly played with during this era were porcelain dolls and wooden dolls.

Porcelain dolls

Porcelain dolls were highly sought after during the 18th century, prized for their delicate beauty and lifelike features. These dolls were made from a type of ceramic material known as porcelain, which was carefully molded and painted by skilled artisans. The intricate details on these dolls, such as their facial expressions and clothing, made them incredibly realistic. Porcelain dolls were often dressed in elegant attire, resembling the fashion trends of the time. They were cherished playmates for children, providing hours of imaginative play.

Wooden dolls

While porcelain dolls were considered a luxurious toy, wooden dolls were more affordable and accessible to a wider range of children. These dolls were crafted from different types of wood, such as birch or beech, and were often carved and painted by hand. Wooden dolls had a simpler design compared to their porcelain counterparts, but they still possessed a charming appeal. Children would delight in dressing and undressing their wooden dolls, using scraps of fabric and ribbons to create fashionable outfits for their beloved companions.

Toy Soldiers

Another popular toy in the 18th century was toy soldiers. These miniature warriors allowed children to engage in imaginative battles and adventures, fostering their strategic thinking and creativity. Two types of toy soldiers that were commonly played with during this era were lead soldiers and tin soldiers.

Lead soldiers

Lead soldiers were widely popular toys in the 18th century, prized for their ability to withstand rough play. These miniature and intricately crafted soldiers were made from molds using lead alloy, resulting in sturdy and durable figures. Lead soldiers were often hand-painted, showcasing vibrant colors and intricate details that brought these toy warriors to life. Children would spend countless hours arranging their lead soldiers in battle formations and reenacting historical events, allowing their imaginations to roam freely.

Tin soldiers

Tin soldiers were an alternative to lead soldiers, offering a more affordable option for children to enjoy. These soldiers were made from tinplate, a thin sheet of iron or steel coated with tin, which was then molded and painted. Although tin soldiers lacked the weight and durability of lead soldiers, they still possessed a certain charm. With their shiny and reflective surface, tin soldiers gleamed as they marched into playtime battles, capturing the attention and imagination of young children.

Board Games

Board games have been a source of entertainment for centuries, providing both amusement and intellectual stimulation. In the 18th century, board games were enjoyed by both children and adults alike. Some popular board games during this time included chess, backgammon, checkers, and snakes and ladders.


Chess, a game of strategic thinking and tactics, has been played for centuries and was a common pastime in the 18th century. The game was played on a square board, with each player controlling a set of unique pieces. Chess required players to plan their moves and anticipate their opponent’s strategy, stimulating critical thinking skills and enhancing problem-solving abilities. This timeless game continues to captivate players of all ages to this day.


Backgammon, a game of skill and chance, was another popular board game in the 18th century. This two-player game involved moving pieces around a board, aiming to be the first to bear off all of their pieces. Backgammon required players to make strategic decisions based on the roll of dice, making each game unique and exciting. It was a game enjoyed by individuals of all ages, providing a fun and engaging way to pass the time.


Checkers, also known as draughts, was a simple yet captivating board game that gained popularity in the 18th century. Played on a square board, checkers involved moving pieces diagonally, aiming to capture the opponent’s pieces. The game required players to strategize and plan their moves, fostering critical thinking skills and encouraging healthy competition. Checkers provided countless hours of entertainment for both children and adults, making it a beloved pastime during this era.

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders, a game that originated in ancient India, became popular in the 18th century and has remained a classic ever since. This simple yet exciting game involved rolling a dice to move across a numbered board, aiming to reach the final square first. Along the way, players would encounter ladders, which allowed them to climb closer to the finish line, and snakes, which forced them to slide back. Snakes and Ladders taught children about the concept of luck and consequences while providing endless fun and laughter.


Whirligigs, also known as wind toys, were delightful spinning contraptions that captivated the imagination of children in the 18th century. These toys were powered by the wind, creating mesmerizing movements that delighted both young and old. Two types of whirligigs that were commonly enjoyed during this era were wooden whirligigs and metal whirligigs.

Wooden whirligigs

Wooden whirligigs were meticulously crafted from various types of wood, such as pine or oak, and beautifully painted to enhance their visual appeal. These whimsical toys featured intricate designs, often resembling animals or figures in motion. When the wind caught the propellers or blades of the wooden whirligig, it would spin and twirl, creating a fascinating display of movement. These captivating toys provided a sense of wonder and amusement for children, as they observed the magical dances of their wooden whirligigs.

Metal whirligigs

Metal whirligigs offered a different aesthetic and durability compared to their wooden counterparts. These enchanting toys were typically made from materials such as iron or copper, providing a sturdier construction. Metal whirligigs boasted intricate metalwork and craftsmanship, often featuring intricate details and polished finishes. When the wind blew, the metal propellers and blades would come to life, swirling and twirling in the air. Metal whirligigs added a touch of elegance and sophistication to playtime, captivating the hearts of children with their dazzling displays.


Marbles have been a cherished game since ancient times, captivating the attention of children in the 18th century. These small spherical toys allowed for hours of fun and friendly competition. Three types of marbles that were commonly used during this era were clay marbles, glass marbles, and stone marbles.

Clay marbles

Clay marbles were the simplest and most affordable type of marbles that children played with in the 18th century. These small orbs were made from molded clay and fired in a kiln to harden. Clay marbles came in various colors and designs, providing a visually appealing array for children to collect and play with. Although clay marbles lacked the durability and weight of their counterparts, they still held a cherished place in the hearts of children, providing endless hours of rolling and games of skill.

Glass marbles

Glass marbles were a more refined and visually captivating type of marble that gained popularity during the 18th century. These marbles were crafted from molten glass, shaped into perfect spheres, and then cooled to solidify. Glass marbles showcased beautiful colors and mesmerizing swirls, captivating children with their dazzling appearance. These marbles were favored by children for their weight and smooth surface, making them ideal for precise shots and intricate marble games.

Stone marbles

Stone marbles, also known as agate marbles, were a cherished type of marble that children enjoyed during the 18th century. These marbles were made from various types of stone, such as agate or marble, resulting in unique patterns and colors. Stone marbles were prized for their durability and weight, making them coveted by children seeking the competitive edge in marble games. The natural beauty and solidity of stone marbles added an element of prestige to playtime, sparking joy and friendly competition among children.

Hobby Horses

Hobby horses were a beloved toy in the 18th century, allowing children to embark on imaginary adventures and explore the world from the safety of their own homes. These play horses were available in two main variants: wooden hobby horses and stuffed hobby horses.

Wooden hobby horses

Wooden hobby horses were a classic and enduring toy in the 18th century. These toys consisted of a wooden horse’s head mounted on a stick, allowing children to simulate riding a horse. The horse’s head was often beautifully carved and painted, reflecting the craftsmanship of the time. Children would eagerly grab hold of the stick and gallop around their homes, immersing themselves in vivid make-believe worlds. Wooden hobby horses provided an opportunity for imaginative play, encouraging children to explore their creativity and embark on exciting adventures.

Stuffed hobby horses

Stuffed hobby horses offered a different tactile experience compared to their wooden counterparts. These toys featured a soft, plush horse’s head mounted on a stick, providing a cuddly companion for children to enjoy. Stuffed hobby horses were often adorned with colorful fabric, ribbons, and even yarn manes, adding a whimsical touch. Children would hold on to the stick and trot around, engaging in imaginative play and creating stories with their trusty steed. Stuffed hobby horses offered a comforting presence and a sense of companionship, ensuring that playtime was both entertaining and comforting.

Spinning Tops

Spinning tops have been captivating children for centuries, offering a simple yet mesmerizing toy. In the 18th century, spinning tops were commonly made from wood or metal, providing a wide range of aesthetic options and experiences.

Wooden tops

Wooden tops were a popular choice for children due to their affordability, durability, and natural appeal. These spinning toys were crafted from various types of wood, such as walnut or maple, and often featured a sharp point at the bottom to anchor them to the ground. Children would give the top a vigorous spin, watching in awe as it twirled and spun gracefully. Wooden tops offered a tangible connection to nature, providing a simple yet captivating toy for children to enjoy.

Metal tops

Metal tops offered a different spinning experience compared to their wooden counterparts. These tops were typically made from materials such as iron or steel, providing a heavier and more durable option. Metal tops often featured intricate designs and engravings, adding a touch of elegance to playtime. When set in motion, metal tops would spin with a powerful force, creating a mesmerizing display of movement. Children would be transfixed by the whirling motion, excitedly cheering as their metal tops continued to spin. Metal tops offered a more robust and thrilling spinning experience, captivating children with their fascinating movements.


Puzzles have long been a favorite pastime for both children and adults, challenging the mind and fostering problem-solving skills. In the 18th century, both wooden puzzles and jigsaw puzzles were popular among young puzzle enthusiasts.

Wooden puzzles

Wooden puzzles were a traditional form of entertainment, providing both mental stimulation and a tactile experience. These puzzles were typically made from different types of wood, each piece intricately carved to interlock with others. Wooden puzzles varied in complexity, offering a range of difficulty levels to suit different ages and skill levels. Children would spend hours examining the pieces, strategically fitting them together to form a complete picture or shape. Wooden puzzles encouraged patience, focus, and critical thinking, making them a cherished activity in the 18th century.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles, known for their interlocking pieces, gained popularity in the 18th century and continue to be a beloved pastime. These puzzles consisted of a picture or image that was divided into small, irregularly shaped pieces. The challenge lay in fitting the pieces together to recreate the original image. Jigsaw puzzles offered a wide variety of themes and difficulty levels, appealing to children of all ages. As children worked on their jigsaw puzzles, they developed spatial awareness, fine motor skills, and perseverance. These captivating puzzles provided a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction when the final piece was put into place.

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Kites have fascinated both children and adults for centuries, soaring through the sky like magical creatures. In the 18th century, children enjoyed flying kites made from either paper or fabric, providing a playful connection with the elements.

Paper kites

Paper kites were an accessible and affordable option for children who wished to experience the thrill of flying. These kites were typically made from a lightweight type of paper, such as rice or bamboo paper, which was carefully crafted into various shapes. Children would attach a tail to their paper kites, providing stability and ensuring a smooth flight. With a string in hand, they would release their kites into the sky and watch with delight as they soared and danced amidst the wind. Paper kites offered a simple yet enchanting way for children to engage in outdoor play and witness the beauty of nature.

Fabric kites

Fabric kites provided a more durable and visually captivating option compared to their paper counterparts. These kites were constructed from lightweight fabrics, such as silk or cotton, which were skillfully sewn into intricate designs. Fabric kites showcased vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and often featured a sturdy frame to ensure stability during flight. When launched into the sky, fabric kites would flutter and glide with utmost grace, capturing the imagination of children and onlookers alike. Fabric kites offered a more substantial and lasting kite-flying experience, allowing children to connect with the wind on a grander scale.

Toy Tea Sets

Tea parties have long been a cherished pastime for children, fostering a sense of elegance, social interaction, and imagination. In the 18th century, toy tea sets were a popular plaything, allowing children to partake in their own tea parties in the comfort of their own homes.

Porcelain tea sets

Porcelain tea sets were a luxurious choice for young children who wished to emulate the refined gatherings of adults. These miniature tea sets were made from delicate porcelain, featuring intricate designs and patterns. Porcelain tea cups, saucers, and teapots were often exquisitely painted and adorned with gold or silver details, adding an air of opulence to playtime. Children would carefully pour imaginary tea into the dainty cups, serving their guests in a manner reminiscent of elegant tea ceremonies. Porcelain tea sets offered a touch of sophistication and refinement, allowing children to engage in imaginative play while learning about etiquette and social customs.

Tin tea sets

Tin tea sets provided a more affordable and durable option for young children to enjoy pretend tea parties. These tea sets were made from tinplate, a type of metal coated with tin, which ensured sturdiness and resistance to wear and tear. Tin tea sets often featured colorful designs and patterns, captivating the eyes and sparking the imagination. Children would arrange their tin tea cups, saucers, and teapots, pouring invisible tea for their guests and engaging in delightful conversations. Tin tea sets provided a joyful and robust play experience, encouraging social interaction and imaginative storytelling.

In conclusion, children in the 18th century had a wide array of toys to captivate their imaginations and enrich their playtime. From dolls that resembled miniature works of art to spinning tops that transfixed with their graceful movements, these toys offered countless hours of joy and amusement. Board games provided intellectual stimulation, while whirligigs and kites allowed children to connect with the natural world. Through the variety of toys available, children in the 18th century could embark on adventures, engage in imaginative play, and develop crucial skills that shaped their growth and creativity. These cherished toys from the past continue to inspire and delight children of all ages to this day.

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